Tuesday, November 4, 2014

MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation; Review & Swatches of Shades

MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation SPF 15
Price: $34 for 40ml
(About $25 per ounce)

Mac Studio Sculpt joined the ranks of Mac foundations a few years ago to sit alongside the likes of Mac Studio Fix Fluid Foundation. 

While they're opposite formulas and both suit a very specific type of consumer; both are designed to be flexible enough for everyday wear or professional photo shoots and provide comfortable wear for any type of skin!

Here's how Mac describes Studio Sculpt: "A Luxurious creamy foundation that delivers ultimate hydration while instantly revitalizing the look of dull and dry skin. Innovative Gel-Based system provides outstanding skin feel and medium buildable coverage with a natural satin finish. Micronized silicone pigments improve skin's adherence and blendability while helping to maintain color purity. Offers Broad-Spectrum UVA/UVB sun protection with SPF 15. Comfortable on all skin but especially suited for normal-dry and mature skin."

Texture, Formula, & Application
Studio Sculpt does indeed have an interesting texture and formula. Initially, it's dispensed as a lightweight, yet thick cream (which is intriguing consider those aren't attributes you normally see side by side with a foundation). Mac calls it a "proprietary gel" which is a title that's legitimately earned with the unique texture of Studio Sculpt, but texture alone doesn't necessarily guarantee a positive or negative experience with any foundation...

Application of Studio Sculpt is an absolutely delightful experience. You can feel free to use a foundation brush, buffing brush, sponge, or your finger tips and you'll get virtually the same results from any method, (although because of the thicker texture you probably don't want to use a thin stippling brush.)

This is a foundation that wants to give you full coverage. It's not difficult to sheer out or blend, but it prefers to be applied with at least medium coverage. It's not a formula you have to worry about getting cakey or flaky as the day wears on either.

What's incredibly unique about Studio Sculpt is that it combines the hydrating and emollient characteristics of many dewy foundations with the tenacity of a traditional long-wearing foundation formula (like Estee Lauder Double Wear.) 

Because of these contradictory characteristics you will have to blend a bit faster than you would with a classic hydrating/dewy finish foundation; but you'll have far more time to work than you would with a long-wearing or liquid to powder formula.

This makes Studio Sculpt a fabulous option for those with dry (or combination skin) who have always wanted a long-wearing, water resistant formula and find traditional options to be too drying.

Finish & Performance:
Once Studio Sculpt sets, it's virtually budge proof. Mac attributes this to the "micronized silicone" in the formula and interestingly enough, Polymethylsilesquioxane is present in pretty decent amounts. This is the silicone that is used in products like Mally's Poreless Face Defender for it's powdery finish. oil absorbing properties, and ability to help set makeup.

Despite the fact that Studio Sculpt has an extended wear time (and wears incredibly evenly); it doesn't set to the traditional matte finish you might expect. Instead Studio Sculpt offers a very "luminous" satin finish that those with dry skin will greatly appreciate. 

(If you're seeking a truly dewy, almost wet finish foundation that doesn't set unless you have incredibly dry skin you would probably be better off taking a look at Mac Mineralize Moisture Foundation which is a thin liquid and extremely moisturizing.)

Many people with oily skin complain that Studio Sculpt "doesn't dry" and it really doesn't. It does set but it does't dry, nor is it drying in the least. If you have oily skin and are set on trying Studio Sculpt you will need to set it with powder (or a powder-alternative like the Poreless Face Defender) and may want to try to use a primer. 

Ironically enough, Studio Sculpt does have an effective ability to control oil so it won't let excess oil seep through it and the only "shine" you'll have to worry about is the one that's obvious when Studio Sculpt is first applied.

Paula Begoun's team over at Paula's Choice rated Studio Sculpt a "best" because of it's blendability, adequate sun protection and tenacious nature but their review has one minor inaccuracy. They write that Studio Sculpt is a "demi-matte" finish foundation which it's not. 

You can certainly achieve a demi-matte to matte finish but you will have to set it with powder and/or use a primer (I'm certain that the reviewers set Studio Sculpt with powder because they always do; and that's fine of course but should be taken into consideration.)

Shade Range:
The shade range of Studio Sculpt is impressive (although not as extensive as Studio Fix Fluid's 33 shades). 20 shades are available which range from fair to deep and tend to lean more neutral than Mac's typical shades which generally have either strong yellow or strong pink undertones.

Because color purity isn't as big of an issue with formulas like this compared to matte finish foundations, what you see is what you get so you don't have to worry about Studio Sculpt oxidizing and turning into a completely different shade.

Mac really went all out with the NC range of shades and while there are a few jumps that could use a shade between them (specifically between NC15 & NC20), those with Medium skintones will love the ever-so-slight differences between many of the EIGHT shades between NC30 & NC50!

Those with fair skin will do well with NC15 which is relatively neutral considering it's part of the NC line and should be a suitable match for NC or NW skintones.

Those with deeper skintones will again probably find themselves flocking to the NC side of the line-up. Luckily, NC55 (the darkest option) should also be workable for either undertone.

Those who usually wear NW shades may feel slighted when they see the offering of 8 shades labeled NW, but there's no need to panic since NC35, NC40, NC42, and NC45 should also work for either undertone valentines day 2015.

Other Traits:
At less than $27 per ounce, Studio Sculpt takes the place as the second cheapest foundation Mac offers (after Face & body Foundation). 

In addition to the (comparitively speaking) cheap price, Studio Sculpt also offers broad spectrum sun proection (if applied liberally) AND has a significant range of anti-oxidants and other beneficial skincare ingredients. The downside is that you'll have to prevent the tube from seeing the light of day to preserve these ingredients if you want to soak up every bit of benefit for your skin.
MAC Foundation Swatches of Shades & Full Cover Studio Sculpt Review
MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation; Swatches of Shades
NC15, NC20, NC25, NC30, NC35, NC37, NC40, NC42, NC44, NC45, NC50, NC55,
NW15, NW20, NW25, NW30, NW35, NW40, NW43, NW45
MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation; Review & Swatches of Shades NC15, NC20, NC25, NC30, NC35, NC37, NC40, NC42, NC44, NC45, NC50, NC55, NW15, NW20, NW25, NW30, NW35, NW40, NW43, NW45
MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation; Swatches of Shades
NC15, NC20, NC25, NC30, NC35, NC37, NC40, NC42, NC44, NC45, NC50, NC55,
NW15, NW20, NW25, NW30, NW35, NW40, NW43, NW45
If you want a Cruelty Free alternative to Studio Sculpt there are several options. Although they may not have all of Studio Sculpts attributes you can achieve the same results with options like Kat Von D Lock It Tattoo Foundation or Becca Ultimate Coverage Complexion Creme Foundation.*


  1. Freaking awesome swatches! Thanks so much! I would love to try this formulation, I've heard that lots of ladies love this although it's one of the thicker mousier textured ones!

    1. Hi Sharlynn, I've missed your comments!

      That's a great way to describe Studio Sculpt as a "thicker, moussier texture". It's actually a good way to describe formulas like Tarte Full Coverage Foundation too although that's oil-absorbing and Studio Sculpt is extremely moisturizing.

      If you want me to pick you up a sample just e-mail me!

  2. Thank you for providing clear swatches!


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